Because those posting on social media simply refuse to obey the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs that private apparitions and revelations must not be treated with derision and/or contempt once they have been approved by the Church, we are forced once again to address attacks on Fatima (see https://www.keepandshare.com/doc18/25945/rodriguez-rebuttal-1-pdf-326k?da=y and https://www.keepandshare.com/doc18/25946/rodriguez-rebuttal-2-pdf-539k?da=y). One can choose not to believe such revelations and even to believe they are not of divine origin. But no one can publicly or privately deride them or treat them with contempt. It scarcely needs to be said that if the Church was here to guide us today it is doubtful anyone would be allowed to discuss or debate religious topics on social media, if we were allowed to use it at all! The reasons should be obvious but unfortunately to some they are not. Religious topics are ordinarily off bounds for the majority of the laity, who would need to receive special permission from the bishop to even print. While Pope Pius XII has given the laity permission in the absence of the hierarchy to assume many of their duties, including the defense of the faith, this permission must be interpreted strictly and engaged in with the greatest caution and reverence.
This obsession with Fatima as a “demonic” apparition that supposedly signaled rot in the Church decades prior to Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima has, predictably, escalated to involve the rejection of all popes reigning after Pope Pius IX as false popes. This was necessary for these Fatima deniers in order to justify their errors and escape the accusation that they are not Catholic for refusing to obey the popes in refraining from demonizing — literally — the apparitions. The primary promoter of this base calumny apparently subscribes to the work of one “Bernal Diaz,” (a pseudonym; generally, only cowards and hucksters, not Catholics, write under assumed names), as the basis for the rejection of Fatima and the Roman Pontiffs. The deluded follower of this man and promoter of Fatima as demonic has publicly stated this author (man, woman?) she follows is a Catholic, but offers no proof whatsoever for this. And none can be found anywhere on the Internet. The most disturbing aspect of all this is the repeated insistence — with absolutely nothing to back it besides speculation, far less “proofs” of any kind as the promoter pretends — that demon worship and cooperation with the demonic on the part of the seers was involved. I speak with St. Teresa of Avila, who wrote in her biography:
“I do not understand those terrors which make us cry out, Satan, Satan! when we may say, God, God! and make Satan tremble. Do we not know that he cannot stir without the permission of God? What does it mean? I am really much more afraid of those people who have so great a fear of the devil, than I am of the devil himself. Satan can do me no harm whatever, but they can trouble me very much…”
And to this I say a resounding, “Amen.” Whenever we see something this pernicious that has so violently seized the minds of those who once walked along the straight path, we can quite rightly suspect that such a thing itself is from the devil. As an article on the Fisheaters forum explains, “Sometimes demons, including Satan himself, and the souls of damned humans go beyond merely tempting a person, and wage a more intense assault. This sort of assault can happen to those who give the Devil an “entree” into their lives by willfully engaging in sin, playing with heresy, becoming inordinately interested in the occult (“occult” meaning “hidden” and referring to those things naturally veiled from us)… Certain forms of mental illness can be caused by or attract the demonic. When demons see weakness, they attack, and some of our mentally ill are victims of the diabolical…” And there also exist in those obsessed “…all of the [other] things that go with obsession, such as illnesses, unexplainable pain, what appears to be incessant, incredibly ‘bad luck,’ etc.” https://www.fisheaters.com/praeternaturalworld4.html
The Popes may be judged by no one
Most sorrowful in all of this is the attack on the popes based on maliciously misconstrued and misunderstood quotes taken entirely out of context, and with no historical perspective provided to better understand what is being discussed and why. Diaz and his follower(s) violate a condemned proposition of the Church, that “The judgment of the Apostolic See, whose authority is not surpassed, is to be disclaimed by no one, nor is anyone permitted to pass judgment on its judgment,” (Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, DZ 1830). In his infallible 1559 bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, Pope Paul IV teaches: “The Roman Pontiff, who is Vicar of God and of Jesus Christ on earth, holds fullness of power over peoples and. kingdoms, and judges all, but can be judged by no one in this world…” He then goes on to explain exactly how and when such a man can be considered a heretic, and it is NOT when he is in office, but only prior to his election. The Vatican Council forever precluded the possibility that the Roman Pontiff could speak heresy as a validly elected pope, and the only thing that could effectively invalidate a papal election, Pope Paul IV teaches, is the invalid election of one who was an apostate, heretic or schismatic.
This is confirmed by St. Robert Bellarmine here as well as the eminent theologian Rev. Felix Capello, De Curia Romana iuxta Reformationem a Pio X, vol. II: De Curia Romana “Sede Vacante” (Rome: Fridericus Pustet, 1912) as quoted by NovusOrdoWatch (https://novusordowatch.org/tag/felix-cappello/)
- “[Pope] Gelasius in his epistle to the bishops of Dardania says: “The Church throughout the world knows that the holy Roman see has the right to judge all, and that nobody is permitted to pass judgment on its judgment.”
- “[Pope] Nicholas I in his epistle to Michael writes: “It is perfectly clear that the judgment of the Apostolic See, whose authority is excelled by none other, is not to be reviewed by anyone.”
- “[Pope] Gregory [Lib. 9, epist. 39 ad Theotistam.]: “If Blessed Peter, he says, when he was blamed by the faithful, had paid attention to the authority that he had received in holy Church, he could have responded: let the sheep not dare to reprimand their pastor.”
- “[Pope] Boniface VIII [In extrav. Viam sanctam, tit. de maiorit. et obedient.]: “If, he says, an earthly power goes wrong, it is to be judged by the spiritual power. If the spiritual goes wrong, the lesser [is judged] by the greater, but if the supreme [power goes wrong, it is judged] by God alone, for it cannot be judged by man.”
“In light of all this, with good reason we conclude that the opinion that affirms that the Roman Pontiff cannot become a heretic even as a private doctor, is most probable, indeed according to our judgment is entirely certain” (end of Capello quote).
As someone writing about theological issues, I have tried my best to follow the teachings of the Church on these matters. I have used as my guide the rules found here, provided by Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton. “Proper reasoning and the correct and adequate use of sources” is essential to theological procedure, Fenton wrote. “In demonstrations from reason, the thesis of theological propositions must remain as the legitimate and certain conclusion. Too many would-be theologians today become entangled in the web of modern thinking and abandon logic as well as Catholic principles in proving their arguments.” Only Catholic truth assisted by right reason can safely arrive at the desired destination or conclusion. Obedience to the ordinary magisterium must be observed at all times. And these cautions pretty well define all that has plagued those defaming Fatima on social media. Logic and Catholic principles are not being observed, right reason has been abandoned and no one is obeying the magisterium.
Those pretending to conduct research on matters Catholic and publish their “findings” without adhering to these standards are scandalizing and misleading fellow Catholics. They are to be exposed and corrected for the good of the faithful and the Church does not just allow this, She demands it (Canons 1324, 1325, 1935). After the fashion of the worldlings they pander to, the Fatima deniers do not even follow the standards of secular scholarship, far less Catholic scholarship, in what they publish. To borrow material from what will later be posted as a new article on the revised website, these secular standards include failing to obtain the proper training (competence), maintaining objectivity, offering projects for criticism and review, respecting colleagues and treating them fairly, conducting research according to established standards, properly evaluating evidence and available sources, considering counter-evidence, exercising great care in making judgments and refraining from allowing emotions or bias to influence what one is writing/researching. And all these standards are currently available online from several different sources for those who care to write ethically and morally.
Hokum and hysteria
It should seem pretty clear to those who have read the false claims about Fatima by Diaz and his minions that all the principles above, Catholic and secular, have been violated. Research standards demand that as many primary and secondary sources be used as possible. The Fatima bunch has rejected nearly all those sources as tainted by actors unknown working to destroy the Church, their excuse for not resorting to them to establish the proper chronology and background of the apparitions or the seers. No evidence of this is provided. Inaccurate statements made that could be easily checked out are repeated over and over again and never corrected. Any evaluation of contrary evidence is always made in favor of the authors’ opinion that Fatima was satanic in origin and no mention is made of anything true and good that came from the apparitions. No alternative explanations are considered nor is it noted that the younger children died as Our Lady predicted, or that World War II came as predicted on the heels of an unprecedented light display in the skies, also foretold by Our Lady. The Holy Father certainly had a great deal to suffer, and the consecration would be done but it would be “too late;” Russia would spread her errors. And those errors were not just about Communism. No counter-evidence is allowed because the devil himself and the spiritists arranged everything in advance — they all hitched a ride in a UFO and dropped an alien in a mini-skirt on top of the holm oak in the Cova de Iria.
This is hokum and hysteria, not reason and logic. It can be attributed to minds obsessed with the devil, also preoccupied with modern day psychic phenomena married to conspiracy theories on steroids. Shades of Q and other insanities. This speculative and undocumented attack on Fatima is primarily based on anti-Catholic “literature,” false suppositions, and the unofficial notes of a priest of questionable credibility (the seers’ parish priest was accused of possibly cooperating with the Freemasons who kidnapped the children, was known to dislike and distrust the seers and later abandoned his parish). But this is what passes as “research” in works that would be condemned today if we had a true pope. These people are unrelentingly vicious in their insistence that this apparition is “satanic.” They actually seem to relish the outrage they inspire among their fellow Catholics who for years have been devoted to Fatima, faithfully practiced what Our Lady requested there, and have incorporated details of the apparitions and messages into their meditations and prayer life. Worst of all, this scandalous and uncatholic behavior is coming from people pretending to be practicing pray-at-home believers. The most egregious of all is the denouncement of true popes and the violation of the papal prohibitions for casting contempt on apparitions and revelations approved by the Church. Needless to say, no one who dares to disobey the popes could ever count themselves as truly Catholic.
Liberal Catholics parading as ultra-conservatives
What mental aberrations could possibly explain how the mind of anyone identifying as Catholic could become so twisted such a person could actually believe there is a Catholic Church outside of papal obedience? We decry it in Traditionalists, then discover it in our own midst? Where is this noxious plague coming from? Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton explained its source in great detail long ago, and his conclusions may astonish many who believe they can identify religious-wise as “ultra-conservatives.” He traces it to the appearance of liberal Catholicism in the early 1800s and its later evolution as full-blown Modernism in the latter part of that century. His description of the essence of Catholic liberalism is precise and easily understood: religious toleration and indifferentism. But as liberal Catholicism developed, and subsequently was condemned repeatedly by successive popes, it used pretexts to avoid these condemnations in order to more easily embed tendencies among Catholics receptive to their ideas.
As Fenton relates, “This group was practically driven to the adoption of minimism and to the claim that the Catholic Church’s dogmatic teachings changed over the course of the years and acquired new meanings quite different from the interpretations which the teaching Church had originally given. If this group wished to present as teachings acceptable to loyal Catholics some tenets which had obviously forcefully and frequently been repudiated by the popes, they were bound to try to convince their dupes that, within this area at least, people could reject or ignore these papal rejections of liberal Catholicism while still remaining loyal Catholics. There were only two plausible reasons that could be offered: either for some reason or other the papal pronouncements against liberal Catholicism were such that they did not require assent from loyal Catholics or the meaning which the Church attached to these statements had changed with the passing of the years.
“Minimalism was the first alternative; the false theory of the transformistic development of dogma the second. Ultimately theological minimalism was a device employed by liberal Catholics to make the rejection of authoritative papal teaching on any point appear to be good Catholic practice. Sometimes it took the crass form of a claim that Catholics are obligated to accept and to hold only those things which had been defined by the explicit decrees or the Ecumenical Councils or of the Holy See. This attitude unfortunately manifest in a Congress of theologians of which Dollinger [the schismatic Old Catholic bishop from Germany] was the leading spirit. It was condemned by Pope Pius the IX in his letter Tuas Libentur” (“The Components of Liberal Catholicism, The American Ecclesiastical Review, July, 1958). Fenton notes further that a crasser form of minimism was found in the objections to the definitions of papal infallibility, and that the Rambler group in England headed by John Henry Cardinal Newman also promoted it, if only in a more subtle manner. By the time Pope St. Pius X condemned the full development of liberal Catholicism in his Pascendi and Lamentibili, Modernist tendencies had already become firmly entrenched among modern Catholics, especially in the U.S., to emerge as full-blown Modernism and ecumenism in the 1950s-60s.
We are not surprised to find that the premier Old Catholic bishop Dollinger, who rejected the dogma of infallibility, was at the head of this movement. For he and his ilk were supporters of the Gallicanist heresy and Traditionalists are only refashioned Old Catholics with a new and misleading name. They have no pope as their head and have been ignoring and misrepresenting papal documents for decades. In fact they have gone even farther than liberal Catholics by questioning, even fabricating, the documents of the Council of Trent and unquestionably infallible papal encyclicals. Call themselves what they will, Traditionalists — and this includes Sedevacantists — are really liberal Catholics parading as conservative promoters of Catholicism. They may be politically and socially conservative — cultural Catholics only — but dogmatically and in reality they are liberals. Give them another generation and their children will be full-blown Modernists; then Vatican 2 will start looking good. As Perry Mason once said, history doesn’t really repeat itself; people just try to repeat history. And we know who these people are.
Trashing of papal decrees by Traditionalists
In another article, Msgr. Fenton explains exactly how liberal Catholics even in his day attempted to interpret and minimize papal documents and condemns this onerous practice. Traditionalists have learned well from them. He begins by stating that the whole of theologians then existing, in the Church of the 1940s, agreed that all the teachings found in papal encyclicals, “merit at least an internal religious assent from all Catholics.” He then goes on to describe a tendency that had developed among theologians to act as though they are qualified “to distinguish two elements in the content of the various encyclicals. One element would be the deposit of genuine Catholic teaching which of course all Catholics are bound to accept at all times. The other element would be a collection of notions current at the time the encyclicals were written. These notions, which would enter into the practical application of the Catholic teaching, are represented as ideas which Catholics can afford to overlook.
The men who have adopted this mentality imagine they can analyze the content of an individual encyclical or of a group of encyclicals in such a way that they can separate the pronouncements which Catholics are bound to accept from those which would have merely an ephemeral value. Today’s theologians would then tell the Catholic people to receive the Catholic principles and to do as they liked about the other elements. When a private theologian ventures to analyze these statements and claims to find a Catholic principle on which the Holy Father’s utterance is based and some contingent mode according to which the Sovereign Pontiff has applied this Catholic principle in its own pronouncement, the only effective doctrinal authority is that of the private theologian himself… [But] the Holy Father’s authority stands behind his own individual statements precisely as they are found in the encyclicals… The private theologian is obligated and privileged to study these documents to arrive at an understanding of what the Holy Father actually teaches and then to aid in the task of bringing this body of truth to the people. The Holy Father however, not the private theologian, remains the doctrinal authority. The theologian is expected to bring out the content of the Pope’s actual teaching, not to subject that teaching to the type of criticism he would have a right to impose on the writings of another private theologian” (“The Doctrinal Authority of Papal Encyclicals,” The American Ecclesiastical Review, September, 1949).
Msgr. Fenton then points out that this tendency to interpret and critique papal documents can be traced back to Cardinal Newman, a promoter of doctrinal minimism. He warns of its dangers and as always upholds the supreme doctrinal authority and rights of the Roman Pontiff. What we have read above is exactly what we see among Sedevacantists and other Traditionalists vainly attempting to justify their existence minus a Roman Pontiff. Their crude attempts are even more grievous since they are not even properly trained clerics, or clerics at all, far less theologians. But what all of this does is simply highlight the reason why even those professing to keep the faith at home wind up derailing their own spiritual train. They presume to critique the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and either determine they may ignore those teachings or that in these times, in their situation, they do not apply. Therefore they are no better than the Traditionalists they pretend to condemn or any of the other schismatics who went before them.
Work out your salvation in fear and trembling
It is a sad day when we see those we have worked with side by side and considered fellow Catholics descend to something so low as the public characterization of a Church-approved apparition as satanic. It greatly grieves those who have their best spiritual interests at heart to see them join the very forces raging against the Church, those forces spreading filthy anti-Catholic literature across the Internet. But as Mother Mary Potter wisely wrote, “You have wondered perhaps when you have heard of the falling away from the Church of even the very good. You have sorrowed perhaps over some sad instance — it may be in your own family or community — of some unhappy soul for whom the temptations of the age have been too strong. Yes, we have wondered at it; we are thoughtless and careless. We do not fear for others till we see them fall but we are not wise. Did not our dear Lord “fear” for us? We should be wiser if we did FEAR more and wonder less” (Path of Mary, 1878; emph. Mother Potter’s).
Those liberal Catholics who today ignore the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs would do well to heed the words of Pope Leo XII, quoted from Msgr. Fenton’s article: “[God’s]… judgments are incomprehensible. God who destroys the wisdom of the wise seems to have handed over the men who are enemies of His Church and who despise the supernatural revelation into a reprobate sense and into that mystery of iniquity that is written on the forehead of the shameless woman described by [Saint] John. For what iniquity can there be greater than that of these proud men who not only have fallen away from the true religion but who use every kind of pretext and use words and writings filled with deceit to turn the unwary away from the true religion also. May God rise up and restrain, destroy and bring to nothing this licentious kind of speech, writing and publication” (Ubi primum, 1824).